2018 Colleges with the Best Professors Methodology

The 2018 Colleges with the Best Professors ranking is based on key statistics and student reviews using data from the U.S. Department of Education. Top-ranked colleges have diverse, accomplished, and well paid faculty members that are highly rated by students. Learn where our data comes from.

Factors Considered

Factor Description Source Weight
Student Surveys on Professors Niche survey responses scored on a 1-5 scale regarding the quality of professors at each school. Self-reported by Niche users 25.0%
Professor Salary Index Index of Professor Salary against Median Household Income in the local area. U.S. Dept. of Education 20.0%
Student-Faculty Ratio Total full-time undergraduate students per full-time undergraduate faculty. U.S. Dept. of Education 12.5%
Faculty Awards Number of faculty awards per full-time faculty member. The Center for Measuring University Performance 7.5%
Faculty Diversity Index An index of Faculty Racial Diversity. U.S. Dept. of Education 7.5%
Faculty National Academy Membership Percent of full-time faculty who are National Academy members. The Center for Measuring University Performance 7.5%
Percent Instructional Faculty Full-Time Percent of instructional faculty working full-time for the institution. U.S. Dept. of Education 7.5%
Faculty Gender Ratio (M-F) Ratio of male to female faculty. U.S. Dept. of Education 5.0%
Research Expenditures per Student Total expenditures dedicated to research per full-time undergraduate student. U.S. Dept. of Education 5.0%
Research Expenditures Total expenditures dedicated to research. U.S. Dept. of Education 2.5%

The same methodology is used to produce the Niche Professor Grade for each ranked school as well as additional 4-year colleges, community colleges, trade schools, and other 2-year programs. Statistics obtained from the U.S. Department of Education represent the most recent data available, usually from 2015–2017, as self-reported by the colleges.

For more details about how we calculate our rankings, click here. If you work for a school and would like to update your data, please claim your school.